Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Pilgrims, Puritans, Witches and Slavery: The Early Colonies and Divine Right

compiled and edited
Dwight Collins

Pilgrim History basically begins with the persecution of the Separatistsby King James I. Life for the Pilgrims meant threats of losing livelihood, home, or imprisonment while staying in England. In 1607, one group of Separatists located in Scrooby, England led by William Brewster set sail for Amsterdam, Holland to escape religious persecution.

Pilgrim History in England Meant Hardship and Departure

King Henry VIII established the Church of England and made it mandatory for every subject to belong to the Church some 90 years before the Pilgrims set sail on the Mayflower for the New World. In that interim period, the Puritan Movement thought the Church of England to be too similar to the Catholic Church and wanted further separation. Some of the Puritans separated even further and were known as the Separatists, or Saints, the future Pilgrims.

One Separatist Church was located in Scrooby, England at the House of William Brewster. Forty of them met there. However, when King James I made life too unbearable for the Separatists, they left for Amsterdam, Holland in 1607, having tried to leave several times before. They sold their homes and walked fifty miles to meet the ship.

James I (1566 - 1625) believed in Witchcraft, the Divine Right of Kings, Commissioned the King James Bible


James's visit to Denmark, a country familiar with witch hunts, may have encouraged an interest in the study of witchcraft,[41] which he considered a branch of theology.[42] After his return to Scotland, he attended the North Berwick witch trials, the first major persecution of witches in Scotland under the Witchcraft Act 1563. Several people, most notably Agnes Sampson, were convicted of using witchcraft to send storms against James's ship. James became obsessed with the threat posed by witches and, inspired by his personal involvement, in 1597 wrote the Daemonologie, a tract which opposed the practice of witchcraft and which provided background material for Shakespeare's Tragedy of Macbeth.[43]James personally supervised the torture of women accused of being witches.

 Although Bible revision was not on the agenda, the Puritan president of Corpus Christi College, John Reynolds, "moved his Majesty, that there might be a new translation of the Bible, because those which were allowed in the reigns of Henry the eighth, and Edward the sixth, were corrupt and not answerable to the truth of the Original."  Here were assembled bishops, clergymen, and professors, along with four Puritan divines, to consider the complaints of the Puritans...{ The designation "Puritan" is often incorrectly used, notably based on the assumption that hedonism and puritanism are antonyms:[1] Historically, the word was used pejoratively to characterize the Protestant group as extremists similar to the Cathariof France, and according to Thomas Fuller in his Church History dated back to 1564, ArchbishopMatthew Parker of that time used it and "precisian" with the sense of modern "stickler"}

King James I formed the Virginia Company, which itself consisted of a pair of separately managed companies called the London Company and the Plymouth Company. Both of these companies were to operate under the Charter of 1606, but in different regions within the same range, and without building colonies within 100 miles (160 km) of each other. The London company was a group of entrepreneurs from London to live and rule in North America. The Virginia Company started its settlement in Chesapeake, Virginia. King James granted the Virginia Company the power and authority to operate and run their lives and to enjoy many freedoms, as indicated in
"Also we do...DECLARE...that all and every the Persons being our Subjects, which shall dwell and inhabit within every or any of the said several Colonies and Plantations, and every of their children, which shall happen to be born within any of the Limits and Precincts of the said several Colonies and Plantations, shall HAVE and enjoy all Liberties, Franchises, and Immunities, within any of our other Dominions, to all Intents and Purposes, as if they had been abiding and born, within this our Realm of England, or any other of our said Dominions."[1][2]
 http://shaybo-therisingtide.blogspot.com/2012/04/james-i-1566-1625-believed-in-divine.html

Life for the Pilgrims Better in Holland


Living in Amsterdam was not ideal because the Separatists could not speak Dutch and had no trades. However, once a hundred or so finally met there, they moved to the city of Leiden. In Leiden, they could learn trades such as, carpentry, weaving, baking, tailoring, and others, learn Dutch and practice their Faith freely. In 1611, William Bradford inherited his father's land in England, which he sold. With the money, Bradford bought "Green Close", a large house that was used for services.

The children were assimilating very well, which concerned the adults because Dutch citizenship was not their goal. Besides, the Dutch had an uneasy truce with the Spanish and war looked inevitable. This also distressed the Separatist hierarchy because some of the young men were already serving in the Dutch army and if war broke out and the Spanish won, it would be likely that their Roman Catholicism would not allow Separatist Puritanism. They had to leave. But where could they go?

The Pilgrims Choose to Start a Life in the New World

Of course, the Separatists could not return to England. And, South America was out of the question because of the climate being too different and the Spanish influence present. So, King James I was petitioned by them to settle in North America. There was already a colony established in Jamestown, Virginia anyway and surely King James would gladly see them go. Besides, King James could benefit from all the goods that the Separatists would send back to England, such as, lumber, furs, foodstuffs, tobacco, among others.

So, the Separatists were also loaned money through "The Merchant Adventurers" , a group of London businessmen looking to make a profit off of New World trade. They would supply the merchant ship the Mayflower for the voyage west. Also, fifty Separatists bought the ship theSpeedwell with money procured from the sale of their houses. They set off from Holland to England on July 22, 1620. The Separatists at this time were first referred to as the Pilgrims.

The Merchant Adventurers insisted that the Separatists bring sixty seven "Strangers" with them if they wanted to use the Mayflower. These were skilled tradespeople who could be useful in the New World. The Speedwell and the Mayflower set sail, but the Speedwell leaked and had to return. So, on September 6, 1620, the Mayflower alone with one hundred two people aboard set off to the New World.

Whitehurst, Susan. The Pilgrims Before the Mayflower. NY: PowerKids Press, 2002.


Pilgrim History

A portion of a book written by R. Walton, a Richmond Family researcher


Text format has been modified from the original document for convenience of reading on the web page.
Used with permission from the author.


"The 'Pilgrims' were a group of English Calvinist religious dissenters, known as Separatists, who fled persecution under Queen Elizabeth I and her successor King James I, taking up residence in Leyden, Holland in 1609. Many of the group immigrated to America on the MAYFLOWER (1620), the FORTUNE (1621), the ANNE and the LITTLE JAMES (1623) and the second MAYFLOWER (1629). They provided the leadership in the establishment of the colony "New Plymouth" as well as about half the colony's population. The term 'Pilgrims', was first used in 1596 in the 'Confession of Faith' they adopted and, in later references, to their own idea of life on earth as a pilgrimage towards heavenly bliss."
Queen Elizabeth I wanted to firmly establish the Church of England as THE CHURCH and she attempted to have all religious groups conform to the Anglican Church. The Puritans, another group in the Anglican Church, wanted to purify" the church of all Roman Catholic ceremonies and practices and bring about further reforms. Both groups wanted to be a church unto themselves but they were being persecuted for their attempts to run their churches the way they wished rather than the way the bishops of the Anglican Church wanted the churches run.
Queen Elizabeth I died in 1603. The majority of Englishmen were now Protestant and the Bible was the most read book. Shakespeare, music, poetry all flourished during her reign. Songs were created and sung by the common man as he worked. Elizabeth, however, had no children so the reign of the Tudor's came to an end with her death. Her successor was James I born in 1566. He was already King James VI of Scotland. His mother was Mary, Queen of Scots. She had tried, unsuccessfully, to oust Elizabeth. With the reign of James I, the House of Stuart came to power. He persecuted both Catholics and the extreme Protestant Puritans and Separatists. He believed he had the divine right to rule as he pleased to the extent that he ruled without parliament for seven years (1614-1621). He finally gave in, however, and agreed to let Parliament share in government but he died shortly after.
It was during the end of Elizabeth's years as Queen and the beginning of James' reign that the Separatists left England, fleeing to Holland where there was more acceptance of different religious beliefs and, from 1620 on to America. Despite his treatment of the non-conformists, it was during James' reign, and with his support, that the version of the Bible we know as the King James Version was translated. His son, Charles became King (1625-1649) and proved to be far more uncompromising than his father. It was during his reign that Reverend William Walton and his fellow Puritans educated at Cambridge began to fear for their lives. The Archbishop of Canterbury, William Laud, inflamed anti-Puritan feeling and caused a big wave of emigration of Puritans to America.Mayflower
Mayflower and Speedwell in Dartmouth Harbor by Wilcox
The Separatists had already immigrated to America by this time because, even though they were safe in Holland, they were not well off financially. They had mostly worked in existing trades, or if they qualified by virtue of having graduated from Cambridge or Oxford in England, taught at the University. They also published religious pamphlets, which annoyed King James when these materials were smuggled into England. This caused a problem with the Dutch because the English Ambassador complained. As time went on, the hard work, aging Separatists, increased poverty and the feeling the Separatists had that the Dutch did not sufficiently respect the Sabbath caused them to consider going to America. They wanted to spread the word of God to remote parts of the world and felt they should go to America where they might convert the Indians and thus bring their religion into this New World.

According to Eugene Stratton, author of "Plymouth Colony, its History and People" those who left Leyden were not known as Pilgrims at this time. William Bradford writing his history many years later first applied the word to them. In preparation, the Separatists in Leyden who wished to go to America, bought one ship, the SPEEDWELL, and chartered another, the MAYFLOWER. They left Leyden and embarked on the SPEEDWELL on July 31, 1620. They met the MAYFLOWER from London and sailed together from Southampton to Plymouth in Devon. After taking on all necessary provisions, they departed on the trip to America. The SPEEDWELL, unfortunately was not seaworthy and both boats therefore turned back to Plymouth. Some Separatists (Pilgrims) returned to Leyden but others were determined to get to America and departed on the MAYFLOWER on September 6, 1620.

Two of our ancestors, Thomas Rogers and Henry Sampson (grandfather of Anna Sproat Richmond [wife of Ebenezer Richmond] were on board the Mayflower. Among the 102 passengers who arrived in America, were Separatists, Strangers and Adventurers. The non-Separatists were people who came from various backgrounds but most had been farmers. There was one doctor in the group who got very little sleep because of so much illness. Fortunately he did have some medicines with him. The Adventurers were looking forward to a new and exciting life in an unknown world. It was necessary to include passengers who were not Separatists because of the tremendous cost of the journey, which the Separatists could not have funded by themselves.
There were social problems on board the ship because of the diversity of backgrounds. Especially did the crew find it difficult to deal with and understand the Separatists (Pilgrims). However, all passengers showed much courage on the trip and learned to respect each other's differences. Fortunately, the women had brought whatever was needed for cooking and the men their guns and tools for building and farming in the New World. There was not room for much else. Their diet was mostly dry biscuits called 'hard tack' and for meat they had salted beef. They could also catch fish. The passengers from Holland brought dried peas, beans, cheese and even some butter. They did not have anything to cook on that resembled a stove as you know it. They had to build charcoal fires in metal boxes if they wanted hot food. Due to the terrible weather, however, it was far too dangerous to have a fire so they ate cold food. Beer was the main drink for all, including the children, because the water they had brought became contaminated and unsafe to drink. What food and beer that was left towards the end of the journey became inedible causing much hunger. The Mayflower was a cargo ship and was not equipped for 102 passengers and 30 crew members to sleep comfortably. As you can imagine, it was very crowded and most of the people slept in an area with virtually no light or air.
The Mayflower's intended destination was the northern Virginia territory at the mouth of the Hudson River that we know today as Manhattan. The first month out of England the trip went well. There were good sailing winds and calm seas but, by October, the wind became stronger and storms more frequent. No one really knows for sure why Capt. Christopher Jones went to Cape Cod instead of Virginia and many theories have been suggested. Eugene Stratton writes that one reason was that they wanted to be outside the jurisdiction of the Anglican Church, which was the established church in Virginia. However, Mr. Stratton states, "Bradford and Winslow went to their graves maintaining that they arrived at New England either by accident or by the treachery of Capt. Christopher Jones."Mayflower Storm
Mayflower at Sea by Margeson
The Mayflower reached the tip of Cape Cod (now Provincetown, Massachusetts) on Saturday 11 November 1620 after 66 days at sea. They remained at Provincetown for 36 days before leaving for Plymouth across Cape Cod Bay. While in Provincetown, the Mayflower Compact was signed by 41 men. It was an agreement concerning their self government in the new land.
Of the 102 passengers who arrived in Provincetown, 29 were females (18 married women who accompanied their husbands; 7 unmarried daughters with their parents, 3 young unmarried women, and one little girl who came with Edward Winslow's family). There were 73 males but only 41 signed the Compact because 32 were under age (17 were minor sons of passengers, 5 were boys who did not come with their own parents, 2 were seamen hired to stay one year before returning to England and 8 were servants, who were not free agents). Thus, every male passenger of legal age (41 men) signed the Compact. Besides the 102 passengers there was also a crew of about 30 sailors.
Several of the men went out to survey the bay and land abutting the bay. To do this, they used a small boat called a "shallop". One might wonder why the Pilgrims did not settle on Cape Cod once they found fresh water ponds and land already cleared for planting by the Indians. There was much discussion as to where to settle. Winter had set in, many people were sick and there was little food so a decision had to be made quickly. There was fighting with the Indians on the Cape but the guns scared the Indians away. Finally, the small shallop returned to the Mayflower. On December 11, 1620 the Mayflower sailed into Plymouth. This was the place Captain John Smith had discovered and named six years before. Everyone was so happy to be able to go on shore even though they continued to live on The Mayflower while the men started exploring on land to find a place for the Pilgrims to live. The main thing was that they had found a new home! There was a good harbor, rivers, fields cleared for planting and they saw no enemy Indians. The "Rock" we now call Plymouth Rock was the only good landing place and to this day everyone believes that was where the Pilgrims landed." Gradually houses were built for the families and a "Common House" for storage of tools and as shelter for those who did not have houses. The weather was so bad it took 26 days to build this "Common House". On Sunday's the Pilgrims worshipped God, sang Psalms and listened to long sermons by William Brewster.
There was no Christmas celebration on December 25, 1620. This Christmas Day was devoted to hard labor! "The Pilgrims utilized all their holiday energies felling trees 'in order to avoid any frivolity on the day called Christmas'." "The Pilgrims interpreted the Bible literally, and nothing in the Scriptures mentioned having a good time at Christmas. While the rest of the Christian world celebrated the Lord's birthday, the Pilgrims chopped wood. Governor William Bradford had to reprimand several of the colonists who took Christmas Day off 'to pitch ye barr, and play at stoole ball and such like sports." Mr. Pelton writes in his article on this subject; "Although we think of Pilgrims as ideal Americans, actually they were a cantankerous group of fervent believers who had little or no tolerance for those who had different opinions or ideas."
By the spring of 1621, half of the Pilgrims including Thomas Rogers, had died and were buried. The doctor had run out of medicines and it was not till the women were able to plant and harvest their herbs that a cure for headaches or cuts was again available.

Finally in March an Indian came to make friends. He spoke English and his name was Samoset. Gradually more Indians came to visit. One - Squanto - stayed and helped the Pilgrims learn to catch fish and hunt for game. He also showed them, which wild plants were safe to eat and which were not. He even told them when it was time to plant corn. Eventually, Chief Massasoit came to meet with Governor Carver (He was the first Governor of the colony until his death in April,1621). They made a peace treatyand agreed to live peacefully. This treaty lasted 54 years.

It was not till the end of March 1621 that all the Pilgrims had a place to live. Today, this original village the Pilgrims built has been re-created in Plymouth, Massachusetts and is called Plimoth Plantation. There one can see how the Pilgrims slept, cooked, ate, and the kind of work they all did (including the children). There were no schools but all the children learned to read at home or from someone in the colony who could teach them. The Bible was the main book read by all. Everyone has heard about the rules all had to live by (i.e. go to church on Sunday, work hard, not steal or get drunk, etc.). Punishment was severe.
Finally, on the 5th of April 1621, Capt. Jones sailed the Mayflower back to England. By October 1621, the Pilgrims had much to be thankful for and they had a celebration that Americans have celebrated ever since which is called "Thanksgiving Day". Plymouth Colony may not have been the first ever such celebration in North America but it is a day of tradition and there is no better place to experience it than in Plymouth, "America's Home Town". It is a great day to be in Plymouth. Thousands of people take part in the public Thanksgiving meal at Plymouth Memorial Hall every year and eat the traditional turkey with cranberry sauce with all the fixings. When there one cannot forget that the Pilgrims - 50 colonists out of 102 survived that first winter along with Massasoit and his 90 Indians celebrated their feast over a three-day period because for them it was truly a joyous time of thanks for all their good fortune.

During the first ten years other colonists joined those at Plimoth Plantation and also built new settlements near by. Thus problems arose that had to be dealt with. William Bradford was elected the second Governor and he proved himself an able leader in keeping things moving smoothly. Until 1630, Plymouth Colony was the largest single settlement in New England. I t was in 1630 that the great migration of Puritans took place. Puritans and Pilgrims are frequently confused as I have stated earlier in this chapter. To repeat what I said earlier, the Puritans were Protestants in England who had one common idea - they wanted to purify the Church of England and do away with Priests, fancy robes, colored windows in churches and religious music. They emulated the religious principles of the French Religious leader and reformer - John Calvin. They took the Bible literally. For a long time all Puritans were opposed by officials of the Church of England and also by the English Government. Many changes had taken place in the church during Henry VIII's time when, about 1536, power was taken away from the Roman Catholic Church in England. Even the changes he made did not satisfy the Puritans who also wanted to abolish priesthood and bishops. During the reign of King James I some Puritans completely broke away from the Church of England. These Puritans were non-conformists. Reverend William Walton was one of these. Had he not come to America, it is very possible he could have been beheaded because of his religious beliefs. He and many of his fellow ministers had been trained at Emmanuel College, Cambridge and it is largely this group of Puritans who came to the Massachusetts Bay Colony from 1630 on. To review the definition of the Pilgrims - first called Separatists - we know they were also very religious and that most of them were not as well educated as the Puritans. Like the Puritans they wanted to set up their own congregations but the English authorities did not approve and persecuted them including sending them to prison. In 1607-08 many of them went to Holland and formed a congregation there. They spent some time in Amsterdam and then later moved to Leyden where most of them lived for the eleven years prior to their sailing to America. As you read about each of the families in your ancestry you will learn that, despite coming from different backgrounds, there were also similarities.

Reverend William Walton was a Puritan and a Non-Conformist, John Richmond was a member of the aristocracy but not a supporter of King Charles who believed in the Divine Rights of Kings. After disagreeing with Parliament, Charles ruled without it for more than a decade. This eventually lead to the British Civil War with Oliver Cromwell and his Roundheads fighting Charles and the Cavaliers. John Richmond was a supporter of Cromwell and, as such, had to leave Taunton for the more neutral Newport, Rhode Island until he decided to go back to England and become one of Cromwell's soldiers.
Thomas Rogers was from Northamptonshire area of England. He was a businessman as well and was probably well aware of the rich resources in America and the business advantages they would eventually offer. Unfortunately, he did not live long enough to take advantage of this. All three men were well educated and they came to America because they were seeking freedom and liberty that was not available in the England of that time.

The Separatists

The Separatists, or Independents, were English Protestants who occupied the extreme wing of Puritanism. The Separatists were severely critical of the Church of England and wanted to either destroy it or separate from it. Their chief complaint was that too many elements of the Roman Catholic Churchhad been retained, such as the ecclesiastical courts, clerical vestments, altars and the practice of kneeling. The Separatists were also critical of the lax standards of public behavior, citing widespread drunkenness and the failure of many to keep the Sabbath properly.
Referring to themselves as the Saints, the Separatists believed that they had been elected by God for salvation (see Calvinism) and feared spiritual contamination if they worshiped with those outside of their congregations, often referred to as the Strangers.
In 1608, a community of English separatists decided to escape persecution by moving to Holland, an area long known for its toleration. Dutch society was so welcoming that the Pilgrims, as they had come to be known, eventually feared that they were losing control over their children. In 1620, they set out for a more remote location that would allow them to protect their community. This effort resulted in the founding of Plymouth Colony.
Other contemporary religious dissenters, the Puritans, believed that the Church of England was badly in need of reform, but could be salvaged.
Plymouth Plantation 1620
The portrayal of Native Americans throughout the establishment of Plymouth Plantation stands in curious relation to Braford's narrative. First of all, there is the initial landing party, with its description of the men led by Captain Miles Standish, firing shots into the darkness at "a hideous and great crie." This they mistook for a "companie of wolves, or such like wild beasts," until the next morning's skirmish--when the "arrowes came flying" and one "lustie man, and no less valiente" who "was seen shoot .3. arrowes" and "stood .3. shot of a musket..." (Wheelwright, 25-26). This is hardly the humble servant offering up the corn at the mere sight of the Pilgrim's arrival (see the Rotunda fresco). And when Samoset, the first representative of the Indians, comes to speak (in "broken English") with the Pilgrims, "he came bouldly amongst them" (emphasis added); and having had previous contact with Europeans, he presumably knew as much or more about the Pilgrims than they about him. Squanto, who had been to England and could communicate well with the colonists, and who taught them "how to set their corne, wher to take fish, and to procure other commodities," is understood by the Pilgrims as "a spetiall instrument sent of God for their good beyond their expectation" (Wheelwright, 41). Regardless of the sense of utility in such an expression (all things being for them the effect or instrument of God), there is an undeniable gratitude, and even the sense of dependence that those must have before one who would provide aid and instruction.

 The treaty with Massasoit was initiated not by the Pilgrims but by the sachem himself, who had already made an equivalent pact with earlier explorers. The success of the treaty during Massasoit's lifetime suggests an equality, fairness, and tolerance that would be idealized and wistfully re-presented in various remembrances of the overall colonial experience. It allows both the positive exemplar of the 'Indian' in Massasoit, and reassurance of European good-faith in dealing with him. It follows:
.1. That neither he (Massasoit) nor any of his, should injurie or doe hurt to any of their peopl(e).
.2. That if any of his did any hurte to any of theirs, he should send the offender, that they might punish him.
.3. That if any thing were taken away from any of theirs, he should cause it to be restored; and they should do like to him.
.4. If any did unjustly warr against him, they would aide him; if any did warr against them, he should aide them. He should send to his neighbours confederates, to certifie them of his, that they might not wrong them, but might be likewise comprised in the conditions of peace.

Puritans 1630
Although there was little difference in the base religious belief between the Pilgrims and Puritan's, the Pilgrim's in general, treated with the Native American's on a more "humanitarian" level after the initial encounters. After the Puritan's arrival 10 years later, the treatment of the Indian's became that of conquer to ignorant savage, and they were regarded as property to be acquired, killed, captured and sold as slaves to pay for the expense of colonization.

below is excerpted from
The American Sense of Puritan
Scott Atkins

The most obvious difference between the Pilgrims and the Puritans is that the Puritans had no intention of breaking with the Anglican church. The Puritans were nonconformists as were the Pilgrims, both of which refusing to accept an authority beyond that of the revealed word. But where with the Pilgrims this had translated into something closer to an egalitarian mode, the "Puritans considered religion a very complex, subtle, and highly intellectual affair," and its leaders thus were highly trained scholars, whose education tended to translate into positions that were often authoritarian. There was a built-in hierarchism in this sense, but one which mostly reflected the age: "Very few Englishmen had yet broached the notion that a lackey was as good as a lord, or that any Tom, Dick, or Harry...could understand the Sermon on the Mount as well as a Master of Arts from Oxford, Cambridge, or Harvard" (Miller, I: 4, 14). Of course, while the Puritan emphasis on scholarship did foster such class distinction, it nevertheless encouraged education among the whole of its group, and in fact demanded a level of learning and understanding in terms of salvation. Thomas Hooker stated in The Application of Redemption, "Its with an ignorant sinner in the midst of all means as with a sick man remaining in the Apothecaries shop, ful of choycest Medicines in the darkest night: ...because he cannot see what he takes, and how to use them, he may kill himself or encrease his distempers, but never cure any disease" (qtd. in Miller, I: 13).

Knowledge of Scripture and divinity, for the Puritans, was essential. This was an uncompromising attitude that characterized the Puritans' entry into New England, according to Perry Miller and Thomas H. Johnson, whose thematic anthology, The Puritans (1932, 1963), became a key text of revisionist historicism, standing as an influential corrective against the extreme anti-Puritanism of the early twentieth century. Following Samuel Eliot Morison, they noted that the emphasis on education saw the establishment, survival, and flourishing of Harvard College--which survived only because the entire community was willing to support it, so that even the poor yeoman farmers "contributed their pecks of wheat" for the continued promise of a "literate ministry" (Miller, I: 14). And again, to their credit, Puritan leaders did not bolster the knowledge of its ministry simply to perpetuate the level of power of the ruling elite. A continuing goal was to further education among the laity, and so ensure that not only were the right and righteous ideas and understandings being held and expressed, but that the expressions were in fact messages received by a comprehending audience. An Act passed in Massachusetts in 1647 required "that every town of one hundred families or more should provide free common and grammar school instruction." Indeed, the first "Free Grammar School" was established in Boston in 1635, only five years after the Massachusetts Bay Colony was founded (Miller, II: 695-97). For all the accusations of superstition and narrow-mindedness, the Puritans could at least be said to have provided their own antidote in their system of schools. As John Cotton wrote in Christ the Fountaine of Life, "zeale is but a wilde-fire without knowledge" (qtd. in Miller, I: 22).

The Puritans who, in the 1560s, first began to be (contemptuously) referred to as such, were ardent reformers, seeking to bring the Church to a state of purity that would match Christianity as it had been in the time of Christ. This reform was to involve, depending upon which Puritan one asked, varying degrees of stripping away practices seen as residual "popery"--vestments, ceremony, and the like. But many of the ideas later associated strictly with the Puritans were not held only by them. The Calvinist doctrine of predestination, with which Puritanism agreed, was held by the Pilgrims as well: both believed that the human state was one of sin and depravity; that after the Fall all but an elect group were irrevocably bound for hell; that, because God's knowledge and power was not limited by space or time, this group had always been elect. In other words, there was nothing one could do about the condition of one's soul but try to act as one would expect a heaven-bound soul to act.

As Perry Miller points out, they inherited Renaissance humanism just as they inherited the Reformation, and so held an interesting place for reason in their overall beliefs. The Puritan idea of "Covenant Theology" describes how "after the fall of man, God voluntarily condescended...to draw up a covenant or contract with His creature in which He laid down the terms and conditions of salvation, and pledged Himself to abide by them" (Miller, I: 58). The doctrine was not so much one of prescription as it was of explanation: it reasoned why certain people were saved and others were not, it gave the conditions against which one might measure up one's soul, and it ensured that God would abide by "human conceptions of right and justice"--"not in all aspects, but in the main" (Miller, I: 58). The religious agency for the individual Puritan was then located in intense introspection, in the attempt to come to an awareness of one's own spiritual state. As with the Pilgrims, the world, history, everything for the Puritan became a textto be interpreted. One could not expect all of God's actions to be limited by one's ideas of reason and justice, but one at least had a general sense, John Cotton's "essentiall wisdome," as guidance. And of course, one had the key, the basis of spiritual understanding, the foundational text and all-encompassing code, the Bible.

Salem Witchcraft
It was because the Puritan mode of interpretivity--with its readings of providence and secondary causes--could reach such extremes that the Salem witch-trials broke out. Of course, as Thomas H. Johnson writes, the belief in witches was generally questioned by no one--Puritan or otherwise--"and even as late as the close of the seventeenth century hardly a scientist of repute in England but accepted certain phenomena as due to witchcraft." But the Puritan cosmology held a relentless imaginative power, especially demonstrated in narratives wherein Providence was shown to be at work through nature and among human beings. The laity read and took in such readings or demonstrations of Providence, and the ministry felt compelled by a sense of official responsibility to offer their interpretations and explain the work of God in the world (Miller, II: 734-35).
Johnson notes the "lurid details" of Cotton Mather's Memorable Providences, Relating to Witchcrafts and Possessions (1689), which helped generate an unbalanced fascination with witchcraft. This would prove both fire and tinder for Salem Village, so that "by September, twenty people and two dogs had been executed as witches" and hundreds more were either in jail or were accused (Miller, II: 735). Yet to envision the Puritan community at this point simply as a mob of hysterical zealots is to lose sight of those prominent figures who stood against the proceedings. Granted that they did not speak out too loudly at the height of the fervor, but then to do so would be to risk exposure to a confusion of plague-like properties, where the testimony of an alleged victim alone was enough to condemn a person. But it was the injustice of this very condition against which men such as Thomas Brattle and Increase Mather wrote. Brattle's "A Full and Candid Account of the Delusion called Witchcraft...." (1692) argued that the evidence was no true evidence at all, because the forms of the accused were taken to be the accused, and the accusers, in declaring that they were informed by the devil as to who afflicted them, were only offering the devil's testimony. His was an argument which seemed wholly reasonable to many, but it led Brattle to the fear "that ages will not wear off that reproach and those stains which these things will leave behind them upon our land" (In Miller, II: 762). Mather wrote in 1693, in Cases of Conscience concerning Evil Spirits, that "it were better that Ten Suspected Witches should escape, than that one Innocent Person be Condemned" (Qtd. in Miller, II: 736).

Beyond this is as well is the journal of Samuel Sewall, which records his fascinating approach to what had happened. This complicates the idea of the 'Puritan' on another level because while Brattle and (Increase) Mather may have offered challenges to any conception of the homogeneity of Puritan belief, Sewall reminds one of the variability within an individual. It introduces an axis of time by which the measure of the 'Puritan mind' must be adjusted. On Christmas Day, 1696, one reads the terse opening, "We bury our little daughter." And three weeks later is a transcript of the notice Sewall had posted publicly. It relates that "Samuel Sewall, sensible of the reiterated strokes of God upon himself and family...Desires to take the Blame and Shame of [the Salem proceedings], Asking pardon of Men..." (In Miller, 513). This is once again an interpretation of the "reiterated strokes of God" which has brought the sense of shame to his consciousness, and it suggests that, at least for Puritans such as Sewall, these readings of nature and events are not merely those of convenience or self-justification. There is at least the indication here that if some Puritans stood ready to see the guilt in others, some of those same people at least made their judgments in good faith and with honesty, giving credence to their understanding of the ways of God, even when they themselves were the object of judgment. Sewall's example suggests a kind of Puritan whose Puritanism not only carries him to almost inhuman extremes, but also relentlessly brings him back, full circle, to humility.

the revealed word, antinomianism, individualism
What also must be emphasized is the absolute ground of religious understanding that the Biblical text represented for the Puritans. The Bible was the Lord's revealed word, and only through it does He directly communicate to human beings. While the natural world may be studied and interpreted in order to gain a sense of His will, He is not the world itself, and does not instill Himself directly into human beings by means of visitations or revelations or divine inspirations of any sort (Miller, I: 10). The antinomian crisis involving Anne Hutchinson focused on this issue. John Winthrop records it in his journal:

[October 21, 1636] One Mrs. Hutchinson, a member of the church of Boston, a woman of ready wit and bold spirit, brought over with her two dangerous errors: 1. That the person of the Holy Ghost dwells in a justified person. 2. That no sanctification can help to evidence to us our justification....(In Miller I: 129)

What the Puritans faced in Hutchinson, or in the Quaker idea of "inner light" which allowed every person direct access to God, was an outbreak of "dangerous" individualism, one which threatened the foundation of their social order. It was not simply a matter of letting Hutchinson spread her ideas freely--not when those ideas could carry the Puritan conception of grace to such an extreme that it translated into an overall abandonment of any structured church, which is to say, the basis of a Puritan society. Miller states how the followers of Hutchinson became caught up in a "fanatical anti-intellectualism" fed by the original Puritan "contention that regenerate men were illuminated with divine truth," which was in turn taken indicate the irrelevance of scholarship and study of the Bible. Both possibilities were potentially destructive to the Massachusetts Bay colony, and both only carried out Puritan ideas further than they were meant to go (Miller, I: 14-15); the individualistic tendencies that was embedded in the Pilgrim community, exists as well with the Puritans. In reference to Tocqueville's use of the term in volume II of Democracy in America, Ellwood Johnson goes so far as to say, "The anti-traditionalism and de- ritualization of society that he named Individualisme had their sources in Puritan culture. This Puritan individualism had survived especially in the habit of judging others by their characters of mind and will, rather than rank, sex, or race..." (Johnson, 119). Of course, as Johnson notes, Tocqueville's experience in America was limited both in time and geographic location. But Hutchinson and her followers werebanished, after all, and while Puritanism did substitute the more simplified approach of Ramean logic to replace the overly recondite and complicated mediaeval scholasticism, and while it fostered a more personal mode of religion with its emphasis on individual faith and access to Scripture instead of the structured ritualism and mediation of the Catholic church, it nevertheless took for granted a society and state which relied upon what was only a translated form of class division, and which depended upon a hierarchy where the word of God would not become dispersed (and so, altered) into a kind of religious precursor to democracy.

 The Puritans had themselves suffered repeatedly under a society which had seemed to evince the potentially ominous side of the relation of church and state. The king was the leader of the church, and the state decided how the church was to function, and in 1629 when Charles I dissolved parliament, the people found that they no longer had any political representation, any means to act legislatively. Their secular agency had then become a measure of their religious agency; the removal to Massachusetts in turn was a way to gain a political voice, to create a state that would develop according to their own beliefs and fashion itself harmoniously with the church.

It was not an effort to establish a society wherein one might unreservedly express what one wished to express and still hope to have a say in communal affairs. If religion was to come to bear on the governance of the society, to what good would a more egalitarian, democratic form come? The integrity of the community as religious entity (Winthrop's "citty on a hill"), which had been the purpose of their coming to America, could only be, at best, weakened and dispersed, and at worst, be challenged to such a degree and in so many ways that there would be no agreement, no action or political effectiveness. Their religion itself would seem to be faced with a prospect of which kind does not easily (if at all) admit--a prefiguration of what is now called 'gridlock.' Despite what some later commentators would say, Puritanism and Democracy were not coproductive ideas, no matter how much one might have anticipated, and even allowed the eventuality of, the other.

One who stated the problems which would ultimately unravel Puritanism as a dominant political force was Roger Williams. For one thing, Williams's critique of the institutions being developed in Massachusetts directly illuminates the difficulty indicated above--that of perpetuating a religion which both held the seed of an increasingly liberating individualism and at the same time maintained the need of a limited meritocracy. The primary point of contention for Williams began in 1631 when he declared that the church in New England was, in its failure to fully separate from the English church, inadequate, and tainted. He removed to Plymouth, where he remained for a year. But even there "Williams wore out his welcome" (Heimert, 196). Part of the reason lay in another of Williams's critique of New England as it was developing, that the lands granted to the colonists had been unjustly given by the crown, because they had not been first purchased from the Indians. For his efforts, Williams was banished. His primary response to this was one of his more threatening ideas, "that the civil magistrates had no power to punish persons for their religious opinions" (Miller, I: 215). This was not necessarily an over-arching argument for full toleration, but rather implied a statement specific to Christian salvation, that "no power on earth was entitled to prevent any individual from seeking Christ in his own way" (Heimert, 198). For the Puritan ministry, this was far enough, because it targeted the strongest tie between it and civil government, and thus implied a potential disconnection between the two. As John Cotton wrote, the question of "mens goods or lands, lives or liberties, tributes, customes, worldly honors and inheritances" was already the jurisdiction of "the civill state" (qtd. in Hall, 117), but the establishment of laws which fostered Christian principles and punished threats to them-- that was only part of the continued and increasing realization of divine will on earth.

That dissenters such as Hutchinson and Williams were banished, suggests what has recurringly been described as a major factor in the evolution not only of the Puritan theocracy, but of supposed national identity in general--the frontier. Both Crevecoeur and Tocqueville portray the pioneer type, the individual who, being away from the influence of religion and mannered, social customs, becomes increasingly rough, and even near-barabaric. This same figure is also seen as a necessary precursor to more and more 'civilized' waves of society. Another view of the frontier effect comes with the increasing democratization of the United States, where populist movements occur such as the Jacksonian Revolution, suggesting a kind of evolutionary mode through which the American socio-political 'self' is more and more fully realized. For Puritan society, Miller suggests a more socio-economic effect, where the frontier increasingly disperses communities and so disperses the effect and control of the clergy, and where the drive for material profit begins to predominate over the concern with "religion and salvation" (Miller, I: 17). And if the frontier demands more a stripped-down material efficacy than the finer attributes of 'culture' and class distinction, then so too does frontier-influenced religion lose its taste for the nicer distinctions of theological scholarship, and move instead toward a greater simplicity, toward the eventual evangelism of the Great Awakening in the 1740s, further out toward "fundamentalism" and other forms of belief that had long-since ceased to be Puritan.

caveat--a note on the jeremiad
At this point one must step back with a bit of caution, and once again take note of an important provision underlying the terminology. That is, in using the term "puritan" above and assigning to it a set of characteristics and preponderances, I must qualify the grounds of the (non)definition. Specifically, an argument such as that belonging to Darrett Rutman becomes useful, even if one does not take it as far as does he (in using specifically against the likes of Perry Miller). Primarily, he takes issue with an approach to history that employs only the selected writings of a selected few, in determining some "notion of Puritan quintessence"--one which is supposed to represent all of Puritan New England, ministry and laity alike. As he puts it, this "view of New England Puritanism...rests upon two major implicit assumptions....that there is such a thing as 'Puritanism'...and that the acme of Puritan ideals is to be found in New England during the years 1630-1650" (In Hall, 110). His argument is correlative to one which Sacvan Bercovitch will take up in The American Jeremiad, where he points out that historians, in assuming this so-called decline, are simply following the lead of "Cotton Mather and other New England Jeremiahs." Taking statements such as Mather's, historians, instead of seeing it as part of a tradition of "political sermon" (to use Bercovitch's phrase) that could be evinced all the way from the sailing of theArbella, have instead interpreted them as even more historically specific, reactions against an increasing lack of coherence between religious and secular authority, and declarations of a failing mission. Rutman indicates the "pragmatic value" of seeing the jeremiad this way, in that it helps isolate a model of Puritanism, and narrows the historian's task to one of describing the thought of a specific twenty-year period.

Rutman's basic argument rests on the recognition that, to gain a clearer picture, one must study not only published sermons and theological treatises, but also more wide- ranging anthropologic data--records of social, political, and economic relations within and among individuals and communities. Into the specifics of this, one need not go; a study in this vein of Sudbury, Massachusetts, reveals underlying instabilities that challenge assumptions of a dominant Puritan 'theocracy,' but then this is not so far from Miller's own conclusion, that Puritan ideology held within it the basis of its own loss of control. The point here is rather the point from which Rutman begins and with which he concludes, that one must be careful not assume an essence of identity to be described before attempting to describe simply what one finds, that such an assumption may lead to dangerous equivocations between the ideology of Puritanism and the history of New England (and extrapolating from that, much of the United States as a whole).
It is the old instability--that between the religious and the secular--which the idea of Puritanism contains. The confusion then becomes translated into the historical perspective in terms that, as Bercovitch states, come from the jeremiad itself: "the New England Puritan jeremiad evokes the mythic past not merely to elicit imitation but above all to demand progress" (Bercovitch, 24). For Bercovitch, who reads those key texts of the 'Great Migration'--John Winthrop's "A Model of Christian Charity" and John Cotton's "God's Promise to His Plantations"--as important transitions into distinctly American forms of the jeremiad, this entails an "effort to fuse the sacred and profane," to historicize transcendent values and goals into what he calls a "ritual of errand" (Bercovitch, 26,29). Defined then not so much by pre-existing social distinctions but rather by a continual and purposefully-held sense of mission to which the modern idea of 'progress' is intrinsic and out of which the notion of "civil religion" (as Kammen would say, "memory in place of religion") develops, Puritanism, as an ideological mode and not (Rutman's) historical "actuality," suggests America as a modern region from the very beginnings of its colonization.

Religious Freedom in the New World
"Religious Freedom" is a misnomer. It was only "freedom" for the select. Church attendance was compulsory, not everyone was deemed worthy of membership. The New England Way was a rigorous examination of a person's spiritual beliefs to identify “saints,” or those qualified to be a church member. This intimidating test ultimately served to limit church membership and forced the next generation to modify procedures. Education was a high priority in Puritan society because literacy was essential to Bible study. Laws were passed calling for the creation of grammar schools to teach reading and writing, and Harvard College was founded in 1636 to train the clergy.
The narrow views of the Puritan leaders regarding religious conformity provoked opposition. Roger Williams argued for the separation of church and state, and the right of privacy in religious belief, and against compulsory church service. Banished from Massachusetts Bay in 1635, he went south to Narragansett Bay and founded the Providence settlement. In 1644, Williams received royal permission to start the colony of Rhode Island, a haven for other religious dissenters.
Anne Hutchinson was another critic of clerical authority. Puritan leaders called her and her supporters Antinomians—individuals opposed to the rule of law. As a woman, she was also seen as a challenger to the traditionally male-dominated society. Tried for sedition, Hutchinson was also exiled as a danger to the colony. She lived in Rhode Island for a time and then moved to New Netherland, where she was killed in 1643 during a conflict between settlers and Indians.
The Puritans brought disease as well as their religion to the New World, and the impact on the native population was the same as it had been in the Caribbean, Mexico, and South America a century earlier. As settlements expanded beyond the coastal region, conflicts with the local tribes became common, with equally devastating results. Notably, for the colonists in Massachusetts Bay and New England, disease was less of a problem than it was in the southern colonies. The cold winters limited travel, and the comparatively small farming communities that were established limited the spread of infection. Death rates dwindled, and life expectancy rose. Improved survival combined with the immigration of entire families contributed to the rapid growth of the population.
Puritan efforts to maintain an intensely ideal religious community did not endure past the first generation. Their restrictive membership requirements in place made it difficult for the Puritan churches to maintain themselves. In 1662, the Half-Way Covenant was adopted to address the problem. It allowed the church members' baptized children who would not give testimony to achieve sainthood (and thereby church membership) a “half-way” membership in the congregation. This change in the rules meant that the children's children could receive baptism after all. Without sainthood, however, they could neither vote on church matters nor take communion. Change was also imposed from outside. Massachusetts's 1691 royal charter made property ownership rather than church membership the qualification for voting and provided for the toleration of religious dissenters. The New England Way was breaking down, and a consequence was the Salem witchcraft trials of 1692 and 1693.
Belief in witches and demonic possession was common in the seventeenth century, and many people, mainly middle-aged women, were accused of witchcraft throughout New England. What made the events in Salem Village unique was the extent of the hysteria, which led to the imprisonment of more than one hundred men and women and the execution of twenty. Historians attribute the outbreak to several factors—rivalries between families, a clash of values between a small farming community like Salem Village and the more cosmopolitan commercial center of Salem, and the ties between many of the accused with Anglicans, Quakers, and Baptists, whom the Puritans considered heretics.
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Oliver Cromwell-Puritan's, Roundhead's and Revolution
Oliver Cromwell (1649-1658 AD)
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Oliver Cromwell, born in Huntingdon in 1599, was a strict Puritan with a Cambridge education when he went to London to represent his family in Parliament. Clothed conservatively , he possessed a Puritan fervor and a commanding voice, he quickly made a name for himself by serving in both the Short Parliament (April 1640) and the Long Parliament (August 1640 through April 1660). Charles I, pushing his finances to bankruptcy and trying to force a new prayer book on Scotland, was badly beaten by the Scots, who demanded £850 per day from the English until the two sides reached agreement. Charles had no choice but to summon Parliament.

The Long Parliament, taking an aggressive stance, steadfastly refused to authorize any funding until Charles was brought to heel. The Triennial Act of 1641 assured the summoning of Parliament at least every three years, a formidable challenge to royal prerogative. The Tudor institutions of fiscal feudalism (manipulating antiquated feudal fealty laws to extract money), the Court of the Star Chamber and the Court of High Commission were declared illegal by Act of Parliament later in 1641. A new era of leadership from the House of Commons (backed by middle class merchants, tradesmen and Puritans) had commenced. Parliament resented the insincerity with which Charles settled with both them and the Scots, and despised his links with Catholicism.

1642 was a banner year for Parliament. They stripped Charles of the last vestiges of prerogative by abolishing episcopacy, placed the army and navy directly under parliamentary supervision and declared this bill become law even if the king refused his signature. Charles entered the House of Commons (the first king to do so), intent on arresting John Pym, the leader of Parliament and four others, but the five conspirators had already fled, making the king appear inept. Charles traveled north to recruit an army and raised his standard against the forces of Parliaments (Roundheads) at Nottingham on August 22, 1642. England was again embroiled in civil war.

Cromwell added sixty horses to the Roundhead cause when war broke out. In the 1642 Battle at Edge Hill, the Roundheads were defeated by the superior Royalist (Cavalier) cavalry, prompting Cromwell to build a trained cavalry. Cromwell proved most capable as a military leader. By the Battle of Marston Moor in 1644, Cromwell's New Model Army had routed Cavalier forces and Cromwell earned the nickname "Ironsides" in the process. Fighting lasted until July 1645 at the final Cavalier defeat at Naseby. Within a year, Charles surrendered to the Scots, who turned him over to Parliament. By 1646, England was ruled solely by Parliament, although the king was not executed until 1649.

English society splintered into many factions: Levellers (intent on eradicating economic castes), Puritans, Episcopalians, remnants of the Cavaliers and other religious and political radicals argued over the fate of the realm. The sole source of authority rest with the army, who moved quickly to end the debates. In November 1648, the Long Parliament was reduced to a "Rump" Parliament by the forced removal of 110 members of Parliament by Cromwell's army, with another 160 members refusing to take their seats in opposition to the action. The remainder, barely enough for a quorum, embarked on an expedition of constitutional change. The Rump dismantled the machinery of government, most of that, remained loyal to the king, abolishing not only the monarchy, but also the Privy Council, Courts of Exchequer and Admiralty and even the House of Lords. England was ruled by an executive Council of State and the Rump Parliament, with various subcommittees dealing with day-to-day affairs. Of great importance was the administration in the shires and parishes: the machinery administering such governments was left intact; ingrained habits of ruling and obeying harkened back to monarchy.

With the death of the ancient constitution and Parliament in control, attention was turned to crushing rebellions in the realm, as well as in Ireland and Scotland. Cromwell forced submission from the nobility, muzzled the press and defeated Leveller rebels in Burford. Annihilating the more radical elements of revolution resulted in political conservatism , which eventually led to the restoration of the monarchy. Cromwell's army slaughtered over forty percent of the indigenous Irishmen, who clung unyieldingly to Catholicism and loyalist sentiments; the remaining Irishmen were forcibly transported to County Connaught with the Act of Settlement in 1653. Scottish Presbyterians fought for a Stuart restoration, in the person of Charles II, but were handily defeated, ending the last remnants of civil war. The army then turned its attention to internal matters.

The Rump devolved into a petty, self-perpetuating and unbending oligarchy, which lost credibility in the eyes of the army. Cromwell ended the Rump Parliament with great indignity on April 21, 1653, ordering the house cleared at the point of a sword. The army called for a new Parliament of Puritan saints, who proved as inept as the Rump. By 1655, Cromwell dissolved his new Parliament, choosing to rule alone (much like Charles I had done in 1629). The cost of keeping a standard army of 35,000 proved financially incompatible with Cromwell's monetarily strapped government. Two wars with the Dutch concerning trade abroad added to Cromwell's financial burdens.

The military's solution was to form yet another version of Parliament. A House of Peers was created, packed with Cromwell's supporters and with true veto power, but the Commons proved most antagonistic towards Cromwell. The monarchy was restored in all but name; Cromwell went from the title of Lord General of the Army to that of Lord Protector of the Realm (the title of king was suggested, but wisely rejected by Cromwell when a furor arose in the military ranks). The Lord Protector died on September 3, 1658, naming his son Richard as successor. With Cromwell's death, the Commonwealth floundered and the monarchy was restored only two years later.

The failure of Cromwell and the Commonwealth was founded upon Cromwell being caught between opposing forces. His attempts to placate the army, the nobility, Puritans and Parliament resulted in the alienation of each group. Leaving the political machinery of the parishes and shires untouched under the new constitution was the height of inconsistency; Cromwell, the army and Parliament were unable to make a clear separation from the ancient constitution and traditional customs of loyalty and obedience to monarchy. Lacey Baldwin Smith cast an astute judgment concerning the aims of the Commonwealth: "When Commons was purged out of existence by a military force of its own creation, the country learned a profound, if bitter, Lesson: Parliament could no more exist without the crown than the crown without Parliament. The ancient constitution had never been King and Parliament but King in Parliament; when one element of that mystical nion was destroyed, the other ultimately perished."

  Mather Family and the Legacy of Oliver Cromwell

Richard Mather

MATHER, Richard, clergyman, born in Lowton, Lancashire, England, in 1596; died in Dorchester, Massachusetts, 22 April, 1669. He was the progenitor of the Mather family in New England. His father was Thomas Mather, and his grandfather was John Mather, of the chapelry of Lowton, in the parish of Winwick, Lancashire. In the early days of the 17th century, during the reign of James I., a band of Puritans cleared away the heavy forests at the south of the city of Liverpool, and settled what was known as Toxteth Park. They looked upon the burning of John Bradford, at Smithfield, as a martyrdom, and they erected a stone chapel in which they might hear the doctrines of the Reformation. The chapel is still in existence. It is plain and square, with no steeple or belfry of any description. The exterior is covered with ivy. Among the tablets upon the interior wall is one bearing this inscription: "Near this walk rest the remains of several generations of an ancient family of yeomanry named Mather, who were settled in Toxteth Park as early as the reign of Queen Elizabeth. They were distinguished by many virtues and by strong religious feeling, and were among the fairest specimens of those who, in former times, were called Puritans."

-Increase's son, Cotton Mather, clergyman, born in Boston, 12 February, 1663 ; died there, 13 February, 1728, was graduated at Harvard in 1678, when scarcely sixteen years of age. An impediment in his speech was apparently an obstacle to his becoming a minister of the gospel, but he cured his habit of stammering by prolonging his syllables as in singing. His speech being perfected, he renewed his theological studies, and began to preach before he was eighteen years old In 1684 he was ordained colleague pastor of the North church in Boston, in connection with his father, and his life ministry was spent in that pulpit. One of the earliest developments of his character was his desire to be useful. To this end he devised a plan of voluntary associations, in every neighborhood, to watch and suppress all evils. He wrote and published much against intemperance, established at his own expense a school for colored children in Boston, advised the christianizing of negroes, devoted his energies to the benefit of the seamen, and fostered with zealous care the introduction of inoculation. To assist in this work, as well as in the duties of a faithful pastor, he prepared a series of questions for every day in the week, which he asked of himself year after year. As the outcome of these endeavors he compiled a small book, "Essays to do Good" (1710 ; new ed., Glasgow, 1838), which is better known than any of the other 381 volumes that he wrote In a letter to Cotton Mather's son, Samuel, dated Passy, France, 10 November, 1779, Benjamin Franklin said, "Permit me to mention one little instance which, though it relates to myself, will not be quite uninteresting to you. When I was a boy I met with a book entitled ' Essays to do Good, ' which I think was written by your father. It had been so little regarded by its former possessor that several leaves of it were torn out; but the remainder gave me such a turn of thinking as to have an influence on my conduct through life; for I have always set a greater value on the character of a doer of good than any other kind of reputation, and if I have been. as you seem to think, a useful citizen, the put)lie owes the advantage of it to that book." 

He was systematic in his work, and over his study-door was the warning to all comers " Be short." While he had considerably less to do with civil affairs than his father, yet it was his interposition, both oral and written, that saved Governor Andros and his subalterns from being put to death by the people of Boston.

He was active in the witchcraft persecutions. In 1685 he published "Memorable Providences relating to Witchcraft and Possessions," and, when the children of John Goodwin became curiously affected in 1688, he was one of the four ministers of Boston who held a day of fasting and prayer, and favored the suspicion of diabolical visitation. He afterward took the eldest daughter to his house in order to observe the phases of the phenomena. When the first phenomena occurred at Salem in 1692, he at once became a prominent adviser concerning them, and. in order to convince all who doubted the possessions and disapproved of the executions, he wrote his "Wonders of the Invisible World" (London, 1692). When the reaction in the popular mind followed, he attempted to arrest it" and though he afterward admitted that "there had been a going too far in that affair," he never expressed regret, and charged the responsibility upon the powers of darkness.

 His course in the matter has been the subject of much criticism, some of it unjust. The belief in witches had been world-wide for hundreds of years before he was born" thousands of such accused persons had been put to death in Germany, France, and Spain, and hundreds in England during the century before the date of his birth" and later, during the years of his youth, thousands of alleged witches were burned in England under the judicial administrations of Sir Matthew Hale and Chief-Justice Holt. It was therefore not strange that a, n intensely spiritual and trusting nature like that of Cotton Mather fell in with a belief that was shared by many who did not sympathize with him in other things. Among those who believed in the reality of witches were the president and fellows of Harvard, the French and Dutch ministers of the province of New York, and William Penn, in America, and Richard Baxter and Isaac Watts in England. Even so late as 1780 Sir William Blackstone declared a similar belief. It must be admitted that he did not rejoice at the earlier allegations" that he advised the separation of the accused and the use of milder measures" that when judicial proceedings had been determined upon he opposed the admission of the " spectral," or any other, evidence resting on the authority of the devil" that though he protested to the judges against such evidence, yet he did not in the end think it his duty to abuse the judges in writing a history of the trials" and that, with his associates, he saw the measure of the delusion and ended it years before it was ended in England.

The Reverend Chandler Robbins, in his history of the Second church, declares that he approached the discussion of Cotton Mather's character with much prejudice against him" but that a full investigation of the whole subject, and a due regard for the times in which he lived, led him (Robbins) to form a most favorable opinion. This analysis of Cotton Mather's character by Robbins is the most complete that has ever been attempted. Cotton Mather is buried in Copp's Hill burying-ground, in the older part of Boston. (See illustration.) The following inscription is on a slab: "Reverend Drs. Increase, Cotton, and Samuel Mather were interred in this vault. 'Tis the tomb of our fathers, Mather's and Crocker's." 


Several years ago a story was published to the effect that a visitor to the inner tomb had discovered that the dust of several generations had vanished, and that literally nothing remained. This was a mistake. The real tomb is a large room containing nearly forty co/tins, all of which, so far as can be learned, are as well preserved as could reasonably be expected. Chief among Mather's works is his "Magnalia Christi Americana," a mass of chaotic material for an ecclesiastical history of New England (London, folio. 1702; 2 vols., Hartford, 1820; 2d American ed., with introduction and notes by Thomas Robbins, D. D., translations of the quotations by Lucius F. Robinson, and a memoir by Samuel T. Drake, 2 vols., Boston, 1855). His "Psalterium Americanum" (1718) is an exact unrhymed metrical translation of the Psalms, printed as prose, and was an attempt to improve the careless current versions. He left several large works in manuscript, the chief of which was the "Biblia Americana, or Sacred Scriptures of the Old and New Testament, Illustrated." The list of his publications, appended to his life by his son, Sanmel Mather, numbers 382, and a list recently compiled by John Langdon Sibley, in his work on the early graduates of Harvard, is even larger. 

A sum-total of 242 volumes was all that had been gathered down to the year 1879 by the American antiquarian society, the Massachusetts historical society, the Boston athenaeum, and the Prince collection in the Boston public library. The number in the possession of each ranged from eighty to one hundred and thirty; but of 114 there was only a single copy in all of the libraries named. The British museum and the Bodleian library at Oxford have made a specialty in collecting the works of Increase and Cotton Mather. The Brinley collection of the works of Cotton Mather was the best in the United States. It was gathered in Hartford, Connecticut, and sold in New York city in 1879. Book hunters have paid enormous prices for some of these rare books, and others, heretofore unknown, are frequently found. Although the earliest book thus far discovered was printed when Cotton Mather was twenty-two years old, yet it is known that he had, at that time, written many poems, and compiled several almanacs, one of the latter being published without his name, as a " happy snare" to give information and to " warn sinners." It is thought that some of these stray volumes may yet be found and identified. 

Cotton Mather's life was written by his son, Samuel Mather (Boston, 1729), and by W. B. O. Peabody in Sparks's "American Biography." See also Charles W. Upham's " History of the Delusions in Salem in 1692" (1831); "The Mather Family," by Reverend Enoch Pond (1844) ; and Chandler Robbins's "History of the Second Church, or Old North, in Boston" (1852).--Increase's second son, Nathaniel, born in Boston, 6 July, 1669; died in Salem, Massachusetts, 17 October, 1688, was noted for his precocity. His mental powers exhausted his vitality, and he died at the age of nineteen. At sixteen he was a graduate of Harvard, and he was also a thorough scholar in Greek, Latin, and Hebrew. His cast of mind was highly religious. His epitaph in the Charter street cemetery in Salem reads thus: "Memento Mori. Mr. Nathaniel Mather. Died October ye 17th, 1688. An aged person who had seen but nineteen winters in the world. He was the youngest brother of the famous Cotton Mather, who came to Salem during Nathaniel's illness, and closed his dying eyes.... He was possessed of wonderful attainments, was a prodigy of learning, and his first published work appeared in print when he was only fifteen years of age."

He prepared "The Boston Ephemeris, an Almanack for 1686."--Increase's youngest son, Samuel, clergyman, born in Boston, 28 August, 1674; died in Witney, Oxfordshire, England. He was graduated at Harvard in 1690, and established a Congregational church at Witney, where he died and was buried in the church-yard of St. Mary. He wrote several religious works, including "The Godhead of the Holy Ghost " (London, 1719), and " A Vindication of the Holy Bible" (1723).--Cotton's son, Samuel, clergyman, born in Boston, 30 October, 1706" died there, 27 June, 1785, was graduated at Harvard in 1723, and received the degree of D. D. from the same institution in 1773. In 1732, four years after his father's death, he was ordained as colleague pastor over the same church to which his father and his grandfather, Increase, had so long ministered. Differences arose in the congregation in 1742 relative to the subject of revivals, and a separate church was established under Mr. Mather in North Bennett street. He published "Life of Cotton Mather" (1729) : " Essay on Gratitude " (1732) ; "Apology for the Liberties of the Churches in New England" (1738);" America Known to the Ancients " (1773) ; "The Sacred Minister," a poem in blank verse (1773); and occasional sermons. He is buried, with his father and grandfather, in Copp's Hill cemetery, Boston.
Edited Appletons Encyclopedia, Copyright © 2001 VirtualologyT

Slavery in the New Puritan America


In 1607, English settlers established Jamestown as the first permanent English colony in the New World.[4]Tobacco became the chief crop of the colony, due to the efforts of John Rolfe in 1611. Once it became clear that tobacco was going to drive the Jamestown colony, more labor was needed. At first, indentured servantswere used as the needed labor.[5] These servants provided up to seven years of free service and had their trip to Jamestown paid for by someone in Jamestown. Once the seven years was over, the indentured servant was free to live in Jamestown as a regular citizen. However, colonists began to see indentured servant as too costly, and in 1619, Dutch traders brought the first African slaves to Jamestown.[6] 


Most Native American tribal groups practiced some form of slavery before the European introduction of African slavery into North America; but none exploited slave labor on a large scale. Indian groups frequently enslaved war captives whom they used for small-scale labor and in ritual sacrifice. Most of these so-called Indian slaves tended to live, however, on the fringes of Indian society. Although not much is known about them, there is little evidence that they were considered racially inferior to the Indians who held power over them. Nor did Indians buy and sell captives in the pre-colonial era, although they sometimes exchanged enslaved Indians with other tribes in peace gestures or in exchange for their own members. In fact, the word "slave" may not even accurately apply to these captive people.

Once Europeans arrived as colonialists in North America, the nature of Indian slavery changed abruptly and dramatically. Indians found that British settlers, especially those in the southern colonies, eagerly purchased or captured Indians to use as forced labor in cultivating tobacco, rice, and indigo. More and more, Indians began selling war captives to whites rather than integrating them into their own societies. And as the demand for labor in the West Indies became insatiable, whites began to actively enslave Indians for export to the so-called "sugar islands."

It is not known how many Indians were enslaved by the Europeans, but they certainly numbered in the tens of thousands. It is estimated that Carolina merchants operating out of Charles Town shipped an estimated 30,000 to 50,000 Indian captives between 1670 and 1715 in a profitable slave trade with the Caribbean, Spanish Hispaniola, and northern colonies. Because of the higher transportation costs of bringing blacks from Africa, whites in the northern colonies sometimes preferred Indian slaves, especially Indian women and children, to blacks. Carolina actually exported as many or even more Indian slaves than it imported enslaved Africans prior to 1720. The usual exchange rate of captive Indians for enslaved Africans was two or three Indians to one African.
Until late in the 18th century, Indian slaves worked on English plantations along side African slaves and even, occasionally, white indentured servants. Women and children frequently were used as menial laborers or domestic servants. By 1720, most whites in the southeastern British colonies preferred enslaved Africans to Indians for obvious reasons. Indians could, for one thing, more easily run away into the wilderness. Also, Europeans always feared the possibility of a coalition of enslaved Africans and enslaved Indians, aided by free Indians on the frontier. What’s more, English settlers played the Indians off against one another in the various Indian wars or wars of empire fought between European colonial powers, using them as allies or as paid mercenaries. Additionally, Europeans commonly believed that Native American men, culturally conditioned to be hunters, considered fieldwork to be women’s work, and that Indian warriors would not adapt easily to agricultural labor in comparison to enslaved Africans. Most importantly, the demand for enslaved labor in the tobacco and rice plantations came to far exceed the potential supply of Indian captives, especially once European diseases began to decimate Indian populations and once the Indians began to more effectively resist European powers.
The Indian slave trade lasted only until around 1730, and it was characterized by a series of devastating wars among the tribes. Those Indians nearer the European settlements raided tribes farther in the interior in the quest for slaves to be sold, especially to the British. Before 1700, the Westos in Carolina dominated much of the Indian slave trade until the English, allied with the Savannah, who resented Westo control of the trade, wiped them out. The Westo tribal group was completely eliminated; its survivors were scattered or else sold into slavery in Antigua.



A similar pattern of friendly and then hostile relations among the English and Indians followed in the southeastern colonies. For example the Creek, a loose confederacy of many different groups who had banded together to defend themselves against slave-raiding, allied with the English and moved on the Apalachee in Spanish Florida, destroying them as a group of people in the quest for Indian slaves. These raids also destroyed several other Florida Indian tribes, including the Timucua. Indeed, most of the colonial-era Indians of Florida were killed, enslaved, or scattered. It is estimated that English-Creek raids on Florida yielded 4,000 Indian slaves between 1700 and 1705.
A few years later, the Florida Savannahs (or Shawnee) raided in similar fashion the Cherokee. In North Carolina, the Tuscarora, fearing among other things that the English planned to enslave them as well as take their land, attacked the English in a war that lasted from 1711 to 1713. In this war, Carolina whites, aided by the Yamasee, completely vanquished the Tuscarora, taking thousands of captives as slaves. Within a few years, a similar fate befell the Yuchis and the Yamasee, who had fallen out of favor with the British.
In Mississippi and Tennessee, the war-like Chickasaw played both the French and British off against each other and preyed on the Choctaw, traditional allies of the French, as well as the Arkansas, the Tunica, and the Taensa, establishing slave depots throughout their territories. A single Chickasaw raid in 1706 on the Choctaw yielded 300 Indian captives for the English. In response, the French armed the Natchez, who lived on the banks of the Mississippi, and the Illinois against the Chickasaw. By 1729, the Natchez, along with a number of enslaved and runaway blacks who lived amongst them, rose up against the French and were massacred in turn by an army composed of French soldiers, Choctaw warriors, and enslaved Africans.















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